The extraordinary 34-year teaching and coaching career of Fran Zaloski at New Milford High School is best remembered for the remarkable success of her Green Wave field hockey teams.
Slowly developing a struggling program in the early 1960s into a consistent winner, the woman known by many as Mrs. Z eventually retired with a 245-97-51 field hockey record.
Her teams won nine Western Connecticut Conference titles. The Green Wave also qualified in all but one season for CIAC state tournament play, and highlighted coach Zaloski’s post-season resume by advancing four times to a state championship match, and three other years to the semifinals.
Among the most memorable matches played by her Green Wave teams was their very first tournament game in 1973, the inaugural year the CIAC offered post-season action for the girls. New Milford and Terryville battled to a 1-1 draw through five overtimes. The next day, the Green Wave showed its mettle by winning a rematch, 2-0, to advance in the tournament.
Several of her players went on to their own coaching careers, including Dawn Hough, who started her own long and highly successful career as NMHS field hockey coach in 1994.
Throughout her tenure at NMHS, Fran Zaloski was a valued and respected physical education and health teacher for athletic directors Joseph Wiser, Chip Salvestrini and Bob Pearson.
For many of the early years of her career, she also coached softball, basketball, volleyball, girls’ track & field and cheerleading.
Her 10 seasons at the helm of the Green Wave softball team, from 1969 through 1978, produced a 97-27 record and WCC titles in 1975 and 1977. During the six seasons of her tenure that the CIAC offered a state tournament, coach Zaloski’s squad twice advanced to the state semifinals.
In eight seasons guiding Green Wave girls’ basketball, coach Zaloski’s teams posted an 82-24 record and won two WCC championships.
Her cumulative resume for field hockey, basketball and softball was 424-148-51, and countless young women whose lives were the better for having been mentored by Fran Zaloski.
Coach Zaloski was honored many times during her career. Among her accolades were the Connecticut Field Hockey Coaches’ Coach of the Year in 1983, the NMHS Booster Club’s Coach of the Year in 1983, the Connecticut High School Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year in 1988, CHSCA Hall of Fame induction in 1991, and CHSFHC Hall of Fame induction in 2016.